Shoppers are expected to provide a boost for retailers during the 2021 holiday shopping season, according to ICSC’s Annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey.

ICSC forecasted an 8.9 percent year-over-year increase in November through December sales, with the total revenue expected to reach $923 billion. Its Annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey found that the average consumer plans to spend an average of $637 on gifts and other holiday-related merchandise.

The survey found 90 percent of adults, or 231 million consumers, plan to make holiday-related purchases and 78 percent of shoppers anticipated spending the same or more this holiday season. ICSC also forecasted that consumers will spend time and money dining, with food and beverage retailers seeing a 35.4 percent year-over-year growth.

ICSC noted the shopping season would be longer with 75 percent of consumers expecting to start shopping earlier this year than they normally would in years past. Among the top reasons are product availability (45 percent), taking advantage of early sales (42 percent) and that products are delivered on time (42 percent).

“Strong retail spending has driven a significant economic recovery this year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and consumers continue to return to pre-pandemic behaviors in the face of uncertainty,” stated Tom McGee, president and CEO, ICSC. “Consumers have remained resilient throughout 2021, which I am confident will continue during and after the holiday shopping season.”

This year’s holiday shoppers said they plan to take advantage of retailers’ omnichannel options, which are likely to boost e-commerce sales 13 percent over 2020. Even with the anticipated growth, 85 percent of shoppers said they plan to spend money in physical stores. Of the shoppers who intend to use click-and-collect, 72 percent said they are likely to make additional purchases when picking up their original online order.

The decision by consumers to shop in-store continues to be driven by their ability to see, touch and try on merchandise (37 percent); the ability to buy the item immediately (34 percent); and to browse for new merchandise (30 percent). More than three-fourths of respondents said they would shop and or dine in malls and shopping centers.

Sales and promotions will remain an important part of retailers’ strategy this holiday season, with 80 percent of respondents saying sales play a role in their holiday purchasing decisions. Nearly half of consumers said that the holiday season would encourage them to make more trips to physical stores, and 38 percent said they would plan their shopping around specific promotional events.

“Concerns around supply chain issues, shipping delays and inflation are weighing heavily on the minds of consumers and driving them to begin their holiday shopping earlier than usual,” McGee added. “We expect to see strong consumer activity despite these challenges, but it’s critical that retailers and consumers alike plan ahead and do everything they can to mitigate supply chain issues to ensure a successful holiday season.”

The ICSC Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey was conducted online by Engine Insights on behalf of ICSC from September 24-26, 2021. The survey represents a demographically representative sample of 1,005 respondents.

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